"All of our team members genuinely love what they do."

Martin Hronec

Data Science Manager

Data Science Manager

When Martin Hronec was offered the position of Data Science Manager at Albert – Ahold Delhaize’s brand in the Czech Republic – he didn’t have to think about it for long. “I was really looking forward to building a Data Science department. And what made it even more exciting was the fact that I was given the freedom to do that the way I thought best. Not to mention the enormous amount of raw data available. For a data scientist like me, it’s like being a kid in a candy store.”  

When Martin started at Albert, the Data Science team consisted of two people: him and another data engineer. Although not just “any” data engineer – a gold medalist in a Kaggle competition. In the world of data science, that’s like winning the Oscars. Today, Martin spearheads a team of four data scientists and engineers – all ambitious people starting out on their careers. “All of our team members genuinely love what they do. None of us works on a project because we have to, but rather because we really care about the work we do. Why are we so passionate about our work? The fact that we learn so much on the job – as well as from each other and other colleagues – definitely plays a big role in keeping us happy.” 

The team uses everything that they learn to achieve one goal: building a portfolio of in-house data science solutions. “We build technical solutions, most of which have a predictive, recommendation-based nature, that enable the business to take data-driven action, rather than making decisions based on intuition or logic alone. In this way, we have an impact on the company, our customers and society at large. The knowledge that we can have such a big impact and truly add value to people and the business is one of the reasons I enjoy my work as much as I do.”  

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Limiting waste and improving the business 

A good example of an initiative that adds value is the “bakery project” that Martin and his team just implemented. “Previously, our bakeries were never entirely sure how many loaves of bread and other items they needed to make each day. Often, they’d bake more than was sold and so lots had to be thrown out. As we really want to limit food waste, this situation needed to change. Obviously, it also wasn’t very good for business. My team was tasked with building an application that would give stores insights on how many products to bake every day. Thanks to our solution, we can now still ensure there’s enough available for customers on a daily basis while also limiting food waste. The number of baked goods we’re saving daily quickly adds up, and that’s incredibly rewarding.”   

Adding a personal touch 

When it comes to exciting projects, there’s another one going on at the moment that Martin is particularly passionate about: the personalization of Albert’s loyalty program. The current program only runs general promotions, not personalized offers. “We can’t wait to really sink our teeth into this project. It will have such an enormous impact on the lives of our customers and on the company.” 

If Martin wants to collaborate or pick someone’s brain, there are lots of people he can reach out to. Various Ahold Delhaize brands already include personalized offers in their loyalty apps. “We are strongly encouraged to cooperate internationally between the different brands. I’m looking forward to working with other Delhaize data teams and the opportunity to share insights, discover solutions they’ve used and learn from their mistakes. I like working for a company where knowledge sharing is a vital part of the culture.”  

The work is never done 

If there’s one challenge Martin has to wrestle with in his job, it’s that his work is never done. “A project is never finished; there’s always room for optimization, new features and growth. We keep a list of ideas and improvements we want to incorporate in future projects – and that list just keeps getting longer. It’s easy to get lost in work, especially because I love it. My friends and colleagues say I’m a workaholic, even though I personally really hate that word. But yes, I definitely like working, and can easily keep going if no one stops me.” Aside from his demanding job, he is also doing his PhD in quantitative finance (he’s nearly finished!) and teaches Git and Python to university students, too. And what does he do in his free time? “Well,” he says, smiling, “there isn’t really any free time left.”  

It’s safe to say that Martin isn’t very good at doing nothing. So, it suits him that he and his girlfriend, Lenka, recently bought a house that needs a lot of renovations. “Manual labor has proven to be a great way to completely forget about work for a bit. I try to do as much of the construction as I can myself – together with Lenka’s father. We’re hoping to be done by Christmas, but in all honesty, it’s probably more realistic to assume we’ll move in by spring next year.”  

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Name: Martin Hronec (1993) 

Started working at Albert: April 2021

Studied: Charles University in Prague, Institute of Economic Studies 

Living with: My girlfriend, Lenka 

Hobbies: Reading, playing chess and learning about new technologies 

Wake me up in the middle of the night for: Anything 

Favorite holiday destination: Slovakia, where I was born. I like to go there to see my family 

Life-changing event: Moving to Prague when I was 18 

Biggest source of inspiration: Coffee and walks 

Best advice I’ve ever received: “Only care about the things you can control. Don’t be bothered by the rest” 

 

 

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